Well, fuck. Sorta.

When my paternal grandmother died last spring, we stopped by in Sanok to check in with my fathers father. Although not totally estranged, the relationship wasn’t very cordial and he hadn’t yet met dads second wife of fifteen years, nor their kids. The meeting was short and somewhat strained, but since grandfathers refusal of taking chemotherapy had left him with only a handful of months to live, dad thought he’d make an effort.

The previous occasion that I’d spoken to him had been almost ten years ago. Dad called me up on Iceland while visiting grandfather who had taken ill, and asked that I talk with him. I told shortly of what I was doing and where I was, and he sounded very weak and grateful that I’d taken the time to speak with him. The stories I’ve heard about him has him pegged as a dick, and perhaps illness had brought awareness of this to the foreground.

Regardless of his feelings, he died two weeks ago from metastasized cancers. When we met him in spring he had a brisk step and keen, albeit weary eyes. He’d cut back on the amount of work and now went to his tailors studio only to keep himself occupied during the days. He was living with a woman who cared for him, and if he was wanting for anything it was certainty that he’d die with dignity, which he’d found lacking as of late.

When I last saw him, I was ten or twelve. He gave my brother a straight razor and me a paratrooper knife. “When the Russians attack at least you can take one with you” he said. Mom confiscated the razor. I used the knife when I parachuted ten years ago, but have not killed any Russians. My brother went to the funeral a week ago, while I stayed at home, tied to work, sending my regards to those left behind, and from afar.

Now both my parents are without parents.

Capitalism. Art. Death. Fascism!

It was a bargain. We will give you our lives; we will spend our lives obediently doing things we wouldn’t choose, things that probably do not really matter to anyone. And in return we will get money. And money will take care of us
→ Shareable.net, Benjamin Rosenbaum: The guy who worked for money

Dead bodies alone, are not that fascinating or scary or whatever you think they might be. They are just what they look like, lifeless skin suitcases. Without the life in them, they’re nothing. I think a person needs life and a body to be a human being. Without one of the two they are just meat furniture that needs to be moved before it starts to stink, or starts to rot, or starts to rot any more in any case.

→ My life with death: mylifewithdeath.blogspot.com

The notorious stage theory of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, whereby one progresses from denial to rage through bargaining to depression and the eventual bliss of “acceptance,” hasn’t so far had much application in my case. In one way, I suppose, I have been “in denial” for some time, knowingly burning the candle at both ends and finding that it often gives a lovely light.

→ Vanity Fair, Christopher Hitchens: Topic of Cancer

An artist can only add shit to shit. Dinos once said, ‘Our art is potty-training for adults.’ He got that about right.” The Chapman brothers are trying to help grown-ups be more civilised? “We’re not here to help,” he giggles. “We certainly don’t care about moral instruction. Our interest in morality is not in being moralists, but in how morality works as a functional pacifier.”

→ Guardian.co.uk, Stuart Jeffreys: How the Chapman brothers became the brothers grim

Moreover, “57.6 percent of the respondents agreed that human rights organizations that expose immoral conduct by Israel should not be allowed to operate freely. Slightly more than half agreed that ‘there is too much freedom of expression’ in Israel. The poll also found that most of the respondents favor punishing Israeli citizens who support sanctioning or boycotting the country, and support punishing journalists who report news that reflects badly on the actions of the defense establishment.”

→ Judy’s world, Judy Mandelbaum: Yes, it can happen there: Artists envision “Israel fascism”

I consider myself a reasonably bright person, who works hard to make something people like. When I’m old and crumbling, I want to be able to feel that I had a successful life in which my work brought happiness to a lot of people.

→ The bottom feeder, Jeff Vogel: Sometimes it’s OK to pirate my games